Increase Your First Call Resolution Efforts with a Self-Service Knowledge Base

One of the fastest ways to lose a customer is to let service and support fall through the cracks. A prudent alternative? Work on retaining customer loyalty by delivering outstanding service after they buy. For this reason, most companies aim to have an effective, efficient Help Desk to resolve issues promptly. A typical corporate KPI (key performance indicator) for service excellence revolves around achieving a high ratio of FCR, or First Contact Resolution. FCR is one of the gold standards for measuring customer satisfaction and retention, while keeping operational costs under control.

Increase Customer Loyalty

A study conducted by (leading call center research firm) SQM Group indicates that, if customer issues are resolved during first contact, only 1% of customers are likely to switch brands. Those who do not get their issues resolved with a single contact are 15% more likely to go over to your competition. As a company, you may never be able to fully quantify lost revenues that will inevitably result from service perceived to be deficient or incompetent, but if revenues are slipping, take a look at your Help Desk’s cost/resolution ratio and see if there is any correlation.

Help Desk Expectations

Customers contact a Help Desk with the expectation of:

  • Technical assistance
  • Product information
  • Account status and information on billing
  • Questions or complaints about product quality issues being satisfactorily answered and resolved.


Multiple Channels, Multiple Choice

While it is likely there will always be a need for agent-assisted channels (phone / chat / email), advances in technology and growing user sophistication are enabling customers to help themselves. Adoption of self-service through intuitive online portals to access information is a fast, convenient way for your customers to self-manage their issues, an option that 72% of them prefer over person-to-person contact. Self-service empowers them to find answers, resolve issues, save time, eliminate further frustration and achieve FCR.

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, self-service frees up time for agents at the call center who, of necessity, must still “man the desk”, to handle cases unsuitable for self-resolution for a variety of reasons. The resultant increase in productivity translates to lower operational costs while providing a superior service for your customers.

But, no matter which of the multi-channel processes your customers opt for, your ultimate goal is First Contact Resolution.

Increase FCR Metrics with a Self-Service Knowledge Base

When you empower customers to help themselves, you provide them with the opportunity to get at the right answers, right now. For busy consumers, the ability to download a manual, learn a quick tip or watch a training video satisfies an immediate need without listening to call center hold music. And by measuring their satisfaction at point of interaction, you can understand if your efforts are hitting the mark, contributing to happier clients along with your own improved FCR metrics.

One of the first self-serve technologies implemented is an online knowledge base. Tech Target defines a knowledge base as follows:

“A knowledge base is a centralized repository for information: a public library, a database of related information about a particular subject. … a knowledge base is used to optimize information collection, organization, and retrieval for an organization, or for the general public.”

Many of us are familiar with the capabilities of a knowledge base. It could be used to help us discover how to work things, fix things or find things within the scope of a particular product or service. At tax time citizens might use the decision-tree capabilities of a knowledge-base on their government website to drill deeper into questions, while an electronics vendor may provide trouble-shooting access with product manuals or software downloads.

Intuitive, Guided, Simple and Flexible

Historically, traditional knowledge bases tended to be discrete, single-function databases, where content could be posted for retrieval by a call center agent or online by a customer; however, the evolution of portals and web-based technologies have extended online functionalities to support multiple modalities for finding answers, including intuitive or guided Q&A, educational videos, policies, reusable templates and podcasts.

As in all things online, the effectiveness of your knowledge base in supporting your customers through a process that solves their problem and increases your FCR goals lies in its simplicity and ease of use. This is important for both internal and external facing stakeholders:

  • The knowledge-based assets housed on your portal should be easy to search, find and consume by your user community;
  • Your knowledge-based assets should always be current, meaning you will need to have a simple and intuitive system that is easy to update by internal stakeholders.

Embedding your knowledge base in a self-service portal also offers a unique opportunity to gather intelligence through your online presence, by providing you with information about how your community is interacting and whether the information delivered is solving client needs. Additionally, real-time information can be collected and analyzed so that trends resulting from recurring problems or queries can be spotted, providing management with knowledge often as it is happening.

Remember the Goal

Once a high FCR level is realized, your company will reap the benefits from:

  • Reduced operational costs and increased efficiencies at the Help Desk;
  • Higher customer satisfaction and retention rates;
  • Increased customer wallet-share leading to higher profits and revenues;
  • Increased morale at the Help Desk, because agents will have fewer dealings with unhappy customers.

Increasingly, your ability to achieve FCR can be transferred into the very capable hands of your customers, ensuring that first call resolution benefits become a reality for both you and your client.